Weigh-Ins are on FRIDAYS - Updated January 13, 2017

Surgery Date: October 20, 2009:

Hit my goal weight on December 17, 2010:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Tell or Not To Tell?

Did you see the GREAT comment from from FK at "The Secret Diaries of" on the post about the Lap-Band lanyard?
Here's FK's comment:

"On the lanyard wearing being out and proud, What are you thought on telling people about your weight loss surgery? I did with the band and it was totally they wrong thing to do... now that I am moving to a sleeve I just don't know what to do? I don't want to lie but I also don't want to explain and justify it to everyone either. Working in a hospital does make it slightly harder..Any thoughts?"

I think that telling others about one's weight loss surgery is a VERY personal decision that each patient has to make. It's up to each of us.

For me, being very open about my surgery with anyone who asks has been one of the best decisions that I've made on my journey.  I'll usually reveal that I have a band when someone asks how I lost weight.

Why?

Reason #1:
Because of the support.

I can honestly say that the support that I've received on my journey to lose 119 lbs, has come from the most unexpected people in my life.

I realize that I'm rather lucky. 

Not everyone is supportive.  People can be judgemental and mean.  Like I couldn't lose the weight on my own, so I had to have surgery.  Whatevs.

Reason#2:
I also reveal that I have a band because I would never want to discourage or mislead anyone who is trying to lose weight using traditional methods by saying that I'm doing the same.  I'm NEVER hungry.  What a HUGE help that is. Thank you BAND.

And sure, I still get the occasional curious comment like "Can you eat that?" 

Which I usually respond with a smile by saying "Yes, of course I can. But I probably shouldn't." and then proceed to chow down on the Taco Bell Nachos Bell Grande or piece of cake sitting in front of me.  Yum.

But seriously, from what I can tell, most people usually couldn't really care less what I'm eating or not eating. 

Most people are usually disinterested in the thought of a Lap-Band and what it is. I can usually tell when their eyes glaze over and roll back in their heads.  They don't care.

So, now it's your turn:  Do you tell? Not tell? Only tell certain people? I wonder what it's like telling coworkers in a hospital environment? Help FK out.


Thank you FK for your comment!

18 comments:

  1. well, I have kept it a secret for the most part. A couple key people know about my surgery.

    Unfortunately, I have down-played my loss when people comment and now feel so guilty for not spilling the beans and revealing my "secret weapon." At this point, I don't feel I can go back.

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  2. hmmm. I have been telling people I see often but I don't usually volunteer it unless someone asks - I just saw an old co-worker today and she asked me what I was doing/done to the lose the weight. :-) and you know what?? We have Jazzersize here now! Too bad it's like, 15 miles away. So sad.

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    1. I have been super open with my family and friends, at the end of the day is this is going to help you get healthy then why should it matter? It is only a tool its not going to lose the weight for you, I am still putting the hard yards in at the gym and eating better so why would I feel guilty about it.
      :)

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  3. "We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do." Ethel Barrett

    I think we can get in knots worrying if we should or shouldn't tell, or if it's "too late to tell" or whatever but bottom line its about what is going to help us in that moment. Following my gut usually leads me right, not so much because of whether it's universally wise to tell, but because it clues me in to whether I personally am ready to talk about it.

    And its OK to change our mind. You can't "untell", but you can put up a boundary if you don't care to discuss it any more. I do have a family member in mind...that I am not going to be in a rush to tell, because this particular person needs FIRM BOUNDARIES about EVERY TOPIC, lol. :-)

    As far as what I think "universally" is true...despite the fact I might not want to share with some people - I really don't think many people do care that much, whatever point I might tell them (see first quote!) "WHAT!!! She lost her weight with the help of LAP BAND!!" I mean, how empty is someone's life if that is their best story to gossip about. Don't they watch Real Housewives and Honey Boo Boo?? ;-)


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  4. I used to tell almost anyone who would listen but these days I kind of keep it to myself. If an occasion comes up where I mention having lost 100 lbs I usually get asked how and I always tell then. I've never had anyone say anything negative about it to my face. Most people's attitude is "you did what you had to do".

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  5. As I've mentioned before, I'm not banded. But my lifelong best friend lost 180 lbs over three years ago via RnY gastric bypass, and, obviously, gets asked a lot about it. Now I suppose it's "her choice" as to how she answers the "how did you lose so much weight so quickly and how do you keep it off?" inquiries (both from people she's known a long time and from new people she meets) but she outright lies and says: "diet and exercise." Which is partially true -- she is 100% compliant to her restricted post-surgery diet and she exercises daily, without exception. HOWEVER there is another big factor and by omitting it (particularly when an obese person who's had the typical yo-yo diet experience is the one asking) I think she does herself -- and that person, who may be encouraged by her example -- a disservice. She is ashamed of having the surgery, for some reason, but proud of the work she's done. And I've told her she should be proud of having made that courageous decision (she is terrified of doctors, hospitals, etc. and having elective surgery is a bigger deal for her than it would be for the average person) that enabled her to get the therapy and the physical circumstances happening in her body so she could do that diet and exercise effectively. I don't think she or anyone needs to volunteer that they're a WLS patient, but I don't think hiding the fact she's had surgery is helpful to her own psyche. When she tells an obese person "I did it by changing my diet and working out" it may very well discourage them as they think "I've tried that but I always gain it back." By explaining that WLS surgery and the pre-surgery prep helped her get to the heart of her overeating and understand WHY she needs to follow the post-surgery lifestyle, though, someone else might be inspired to make that call to their doctor.

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  6. Thanks so much Lapband Gal for the post and all your comments ... Wow what to do! I will keep thinking x

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  7. I don't volunteer the information, Like, "hi my name is tracey and I had VSG last June" but if it comes up I'm truthful. It usually comes up when I'm eating because people wonder why I eat so little....I like your reasonings for telling people, they make great sense. But I also respect those who choose not to share. Boundaries can often be an issue with people with weight problems and this may be one way for those who have these issues protect themselves.

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  8. I pick and choose who I tell, but my general rule is that if it's someone who is overweight and is asking in that "I WANT TO KNOW!" kind of way, I will tell them. I never would want someone to feel like "here's another person that succeeded w here I failed!" If it's someone who is asking casually I just say small portions and lots of running - also true.

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  9. I pick and choose and maybe I will be more open when I get closer to goal.

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  10. I regret that I told as many people as I did, especially at work. It seems it has been used against me.

    I got food poisoning a month or so ago and ended up at urgent care with IV and wishing I would just die.

    When I got to work the next day, still feeling so weak I just wanted to sleep, my supervisor told me that I know I have to be more picky about how I eat with my stomach, she couldn't afford for me to call in sick everytime something didn't digest right. She and I are "friends" and it not only hurt my feelings but it made me so mad that she felt she could just throw that out there.

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  11. This has been a big struggle for me. I originally planned to tell no one other than immediate family and very close friends. However, it hasn't ended up that way. I have done several posts about it on my blog and what I have learned is that drinking wine makes me loose lipped and I tell people I am drinking with. That has led to having to tell other people because they will get their knickers in a twist and feel left out that they didn't know.

    There are still some people that I don't want to ever know because I know they will be judgemental and I don't want to have to kick them.

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  12. As a nurse, I see the devastating effects of obesity every day. Heart disease. Diabetes. Arthritis. Immobility. Ulcers. Edema. So when people ask me how I am losing my weight, I tell them about the LapBand. I want to be honest and tell them about this powerful tool for weight loss. I want to help fight the stigma that keeps WLS patients in the closet. There is soooo much discrimination against obese individuals, and I don't think we should be discriminated against for the way we choose to overcome obesity.
    That being said, I agree that 'to tell or not to tell' is a very personal decision, and in fact, a very dynamic decision...one that probably changes over time and depending on the audience.

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  13. I haven't told anyone but my mother and husband, not even my daughter knows.. Is it because I feel ashamed?? No!! I just don't think it's anyone's business. Guess, it's the generation I was raised in. You never discuss personal matters with anyone ever, so I don't.. When ppl ask me how I've lost wt, I tell the truth, portion control, eat right, excercise, all true so I don't feel like I'm lieing or anything like that. IT's just that I don't think it their business.. To me it's no different then me not telling ppl about my other surgeries I've had, it's personal and I keep it that way..

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  14. I have only told my immediate family, a close friend, and a few select people at work. I work as an RN in a clinic, and am very select on who I open up to in my work setting. I really don't want to be the topic of office gossip because I don't feel it is anyone's business. When people ask I just say diet and exercise (which I think is TOTALLY OK!) Now if someone overweight came up to me and asked I would totally be honest, I am all for helping other in need of information that could be life saving/changing!

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  15. I tell anyone who asks, too. At this point (almost 2 years post-op) I'm comfortable enough in my own skin. You're right, though... it's a really personal decision!

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  16. I told everyone I made no excuses I was like guess what I am fat and i dont want to be fat anymore. And you know what its because i eat way to much in one sitting so I am getting the band. I f you think that a bad idea I want you to pick up an 80 bag of concrete and falk around with it all day , thats my world so suck it :)

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